We've been back 10 days or so now and the novelty of living in a home again is starting to wear thin. We've had three years of deferred maintenance on our house to catch up on, so while Mike was excited to move off the boat and take a break from constantly fixing things.......guess what he is doing now? He's fixing things! Although there does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Things have changed a little in our neck of the woods. In the time that we were away, two new houses were built adjacent to our property, so where there once was a thicket of blackberries and other trees, there now are two homes. The high school boundary map was redrawn while we were away and the high school we always expect to go to, the one just a mile away and down the street is no longer our HS and we will have to cross two major highways to get to the new one. The traffic seems to have gotten worse, but that is probably the case everywhere. I suppose all in the name of progress. How soon before I yearn for those isolated days on the atoll? Probably when I'm stuck in my first traffic jam!
When we returned Porter immediately started texting friends and setting up park dates and he is currently at a sleepover. Zander has touched base with a friend or two, but enjoys the solitude of shooting hoops and having some much needed space to himself and is slow to move back into the hectic social scene. Ana didn't remember much about our house. She needed to be shown where the bathrooms were, where the mailbox was, and while she was ecstatic to have her own room, she has yet to sleep all night in it alone! We are all used to having zero elbow room, and now we have a big house to get lost in. It is all good, but it is taking some adjusting to.
What else is different? It is still a novelty to have Internet and instant information at our fingertips. We still aren't used to that and we feel like cavemen having been dropped into the 21st century. I love having a grocery store up the street from us. I no longer have to meal plan two weeks or so out in order to make sure we eat. Not everything has to be made from scratch either. A frozen waffle and a toaster is an amazing thing. The amount of retail in our area and the choice of stores, restaurants and buying options is also staggering. I can now walk into a Target and drop $100 and not really get anything important. Abroad that never happened. Yes, prices were more expensive, but there really never was anything of quality to buy. In the islands nothing was ever cheap and the quality was poor. Think dollar store quality or worse. And more often than not, just nothing to buy. In Latin America things were cheaper, but you got what you paid for and quality was usually still poor. We bought very little, and of course we were restricted by space on the boat, so purchases were minimal and we got by with what we left Oregon with. We are also hemorrhaging money in many other ways that just didn't exist on the boat. Obviously the house is consuming some money but that was a given. We've poured money into soccer camps, soccer leagues, water polo associations, swim condition access at the community pool and get this, it actually cost big bucks to play on a high school sport these days. We've got cell phone bills, cable, wifi, house utilities, car insurance and higher health insurance. All things we didn't have to pay for while afloat. The financial cost of living the American dream is a bit overwhelming at first.
More to come as I sift through our mountain of video.